The first impression is almost scary. 2007’s “Hell Destroyer” was one of the highlights of that particular year but this album if possible even surpasses that and goes to become one of the strongest metal albums so far released in 2009. Hailing from San Diego, metallers Cage offer nothing earth shaking or new but once again an old trick works better than a bag of new ones, this kind of music is just something that gets under your skin. The more traditional the better.
Cage’s fifth album continues their well tried and tested formula of rip roaring heavy metal, in the grand tradition of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. This long forgotten trend may slip under the radar for few years but thanks to bands like this, it always comes back seemingly stronger than ever.
After a number of years and records with way too much effects and experimentation, it’s good to hear these more “stripped down” efforts. Quantity doesn’t always mean quality.
The album begins with a short instrumental “The Power That Feeds” setting the scene to great opener “Planet Crusher.” The band takes no prisoners on this anthemlike number and the DB drumwork by their new member Norm Leggio adds extra speed & heaviness. Vocalist Sean Peck is on fire screaming “Devourer Of Worlds!!” like he well and truly means it!
“Scarlet Witch” is okay but the third track “Spirit Of Vengeance” is one of my favourites, catchy chorus and good guitarwork during both chorus and refrain ensure this. Cage doesn’t want to hide their influences, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden of course are there in present and clear but also their appreciation of King Diamond is obvious. And most on very Diamond-esque “Black River Falls.” Sean Peck shouts “Little Children!” on the chorus and the effect is haunting to say the least.
Next up is “Stranger In Black” which remains a personal highlight after several spins. Once again Peck sings the hell out of it and music charges along with guitars screaming beside the vocalist.
“Speed Kills” is a great title and the song’s very fast indeed, with another killer chorus topping it off in style. The record ends on a high note with the menacing title track and following bleak speech “At The Edge Of The Infinite.” Aside from the great tunes I mentioned, there’s few that are still growing on me. For example “Spectre Of War” and “Operation Overlord” seem to somehow get lost in the middle of some other highlights.
Speaking of individual performances like mentioned before vocalist Sean Peck’s performance stuns the most, the man screams like a man possessed on “Scarlet Witch” and “Stranger In Black” – the screams do give out the impression of Rob Halford and Ripper Owens re-incarnated. He too, seems to have improved his vocal acrobatics from one album to another and certainly on “Science Of Annihilation” the voice is clean, high and powerful. The King Diamond-influenced growls on “Black River Falls” sound pretty good too.
Guitars by Dave Garcia and Anthony McGinnis sound big enough to race against the singer but harmonies and solos carry a weight of their own as well. In places I might have added even more heaviness to overall sound but this is a minor thing.
Finally the rhythm section consisting of Mike Giordano and Norm Leggio back things up tastefully, the double bass drums give out a Priest circa-“Painkiller” influence but without a doubt it works the best here.
Not too many people know about this band and that is truly a shame. Album by album they have developed into a force to be reckoned with in the metal field. This album has plenty of good songs, some better than others but overall very positive feeling remains throughout. It’s good to know traditional heavy metal with sharp guitars, thundering drums and screeching vocals is alive and well as long bands like Cage soldier on.
1.The Power That Feeds
4.Spirit Of Vengeance
5.Black River Falls
7.Power Of A God
9.Stranger In Black
11.Spectre Of War
12.Science Of Annihilation
13.At The Edge Of The Infinite